The Tipping Point — Global Fisheries Have Collapsed

The terror that is Global Climate change will hover in the background until–like a stroke of lightning–the world crosses a tipping point–the point of no return.


On October 14th, 2013, the Vancouver Sun carried shocking news that points to that Rubicon having been crossed. The oceans have tipped. The first sign of this catastrophe comes with the complete and utter disappearance of the fish called Sardines–a fish that used to swim in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in uncountable numbers. Perhaps now, with the warming of the oceans, coupled with the relentless and insane overfishing by the world’s fishing fleets, using industrial tactics against wild animals, all of the fishing fleets came back from fishing with shocking, horrifying news: all gone. Starting in the 1920’s, 40,000 tons of sardines had been fished annually.

These fishing trawlers–a $32 million business–all returned with the same catch: not one fish. They are all gone. Dead, seined out of complete existence. With the disappearance of the sardine, the global food chain commences its collapse.

The sardine seine fleet has gone home after failing to catch a single fish.”

Starting last year, the humpback whale–dependent on this one fish species for its tenuous survival–was noticeably absent.

Worldwide, every single species of fish is facing total collapse. Every single species.

worldwide fish extinction
As fisheries exhaust the larger species of fish, they have moved down the food chain to smaller and smaller fish.

The problem is not just industrial fishing–it’s what are called “pirate” fisheries. Whole industries were created to exploit these wild animals. In the last 10 years, worldwide bluefin tuna catches have declined 80%. Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi has bought and frozen 40% of the world’s supply of bluefin tuna–actually banking on its extinction. Mitsubishi has not only accepted that bluefin tuna will be fished to extinction–they’re banking on it. After the last bluefin has been caught–Mitsubishi will sell off the last few frozen carcasses of this fish until the last one is gone and they can walk away with a thick pile of Yen.

In fact, global fish catches peaked in the mid 90’s. Scientists who study this knew they had to be on guard to leap into action when that peak was reached–because that was the last opportunity to step in and stop the overfishing before so many species were fished into extinction. Though every worldwide fishery reported that catches had peaked in the mid 1990s, paradoxically–worldwide–the amount of fish that was reportedly caught continued to climb–in 2001. Reported global fish catches were going up and up. Digging into the numbers, scientists discovered the answer to the problem: the Chinese. Still under the grip of Communism and the bonuses that came with ever-larger reports of fish caught, the Chinese had been lying, saying they were catching more fish than they were. This action by the Chinese masked when the tipping point was actually passed and now–it is simply too late. Vast quantities of the world’s fish species are extinct.

The stark reality is this: global fish catches peaked in 1988. They have been declining ever since then–but that fact was not recognized until 2002. Too late to prevent extinction.

Shark Fin Soup

Sharks are killed for their fins–to make a gelatinous goo known as “shark fin” soup. No species of fish is immune from the destruction. No waters are safe.



So, if you eat “sushi”, you are eating the last of about-to-be-extinct fish. Most certainly, it’s all about to end. As the climate warms, 90% of the heat is first absorbed by the Oceans but… they won’t hang on to that heat forever. They will release it and we will see what they have been masking. The death of these fish is partly overfishing and partly climate change. It’s too late!



Newfoundland used to be rife with the species called cod–until in 1992 suddenly they were all gone and a moratorium on fishing the Northern Cod was halted. But do you know what happened? The cod never returned! In 2007 a research ship sent out a line with 1500 hooks and they caught 1 cod. So, 15 years after the moratorium, the code never returned. They have gone extinct.



On Friday, we learned that we have just done the same to the sardine. Gone. Extinct. Forever. As world population explodes–fish had been our ace in the hole–the way to feed people. Nope. Gone. Too late.

Here is a graphic ?to help you understand the enormity of this issue:


fish extinction
Having already worked our way through all of the long-lived larger fish, we work our way to the smaller fish and approach a day when only jellyfish will remain.







Author of the bestselling novel "The Butcher of Leningrad" (a thriller). Novelist, Software Architect, Painter Native of Nebraska, Resident of Indiana, Citizen of the World   Software Architect for 16 years: Insurance, Healthcare, Wall Street Author of the bestselling novel "The Butcher of Leningrad". BA in Journalism from the University of Iowa. Minors in Russian, Computer Science Reporter and Columnist for the Daily Iowan in Iowa City, Iowa Editor for Neva News in St. Petersburg, Russia Editor and Publisher of Noggin Magazine in Iowa City, Iowa